Miami Blue

robert beiriger robert.beiriger at
Thu Jan 17 14:15:32 EST 2002

Dear all:

    Even though there is nothing for control of Ballon vine on the web as
John suggests, there are a couple of herbicides (Basagram is one) which list
Ballon vine on the label.  If balloon vine was tested and put on a chemical
label, it had to be a problem at some time or some where.  From what I have
seen in South Florida in the last 10 or so years, this no longer is the

Robert Beiriger
Loxahatchee, FL

> >Can anyone else confirm what Leroy suggests (and I was
> > wondering) - is the
> > >Balloon Vine an exotic and if so, what did the Miami Blue
> > subsist on prior
> > >to the introduction of the vine?
> There are two balloon vines in the Florida Keys (aren't common names
> Cardiospermum corindum, a native species and Cardiospermum halicacabum, a
> non-native tropical species.  Based on a quick web search, there are
> species (ecologically and morphologically) - and it seems likely that both
> are hosts for Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri.
> I did a quick web search for control methods for Cardiospermum
> and there are no online resources available on the Wildland Weeds web
> This indicates that it isn't a real problem invasive (or at least a big
> enough problem that people have developed a formal element abstract for
> it).. but it is a widespread exotic.  So its probably an early
> "naturalized" species - like Queen Anne's lace in the Midwest.
> This raises some questions about the actual suitability of both species as
> hosts (and about plans to grow "balloon vine" as a tool to stabilize the
> butterfly population).  It is possible that one of the hostplant species
> a sub-optimal host.  I know you can get perfect adults out of C.
> seed pods (I've done this), but are the adult butterflies reproductively
> fit?  It seems likely that a series of quick tests looking at the
> suitability of both host plants and the reproductive potential of
> butterflies reared on both hosts should be assessed before any effort is
> expended towards increasing the stands of balloon vine.
> I seems odd to me that C. halicacabum is a common weedy plant (or at least
> was when I saw the Keys in the 80's) and yet the butterfly has collapsed
> a single population.  It could well be that the exotic hostplant is acting
> as a population sink - it attracts eggs and produces adults that are
> physiologically impaired.
> So there, you have my speculation for the day,
> John
> _____________
> John A. Shuey
> Director of Conservation Science
> Indiana Office of The Nature Conservancy
> 1505 N Delaware Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202
> 317.951.8818
> >
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